Saturday, October 25, 2014


For years, as adults, we live in the world our entire lives. We work, we live, we raise children, we make friends, we laugh, we cry, we grow older, the children grow up and leave, or sometimes they get sick and die long before they should. We adopt dogs and cats and treat them like our babies. We collect things around us that remind us of happy times, that give us pleasure to look at. We build homes around us where we feel comfortable and safe. We learn to drive and have cars that allow us freedom, so we can take care of what we need to do, and sometimes take ourselves to attend the theater, or meet friends at a local restaurant where we can kick back and enjoy each others' company. If we're lucky, we find work that gives us great pleasure and satisfaction. Life isn't perfect, but it's good. We have enough to eat and a comfortable place to live. We have love around us. We have independence to live our lives as we wish, within limits. We make new friends and like to go to new places with them, explore things like wine tasting tours or going to a local theater in the round. And when our loved ones need help, we reach out to them and find them help, and hold them when they're sad, then rejoice with them when things are good again.

This is life. This is being in the world. This is belonging, and being a part of living, growing existence.

Then, out of the blue, just as you're crossing the threshold of being considered old, something goes wrong with your body. You can no longer walk or take care of yourself. You're moved into a nursing home. It's not really a home. It's just a place to stay. Forever. All those things you collected around you that made you happy have to go because there's no room for them. All your wonderful books, most of them autographed, are going elsewhere. Your comfortable chair, your blonde knotty pine bedroom furniture with the pastel flowers etched into the wood, now belongs to somebody else. Your dishes, your expensive Le Crueset pots and pans that you discovered on sale in the back of Sam's Warehouse at the astounding bargain price of $50 that you cooked meal after meal in, always with joy, now gone. Who knows where.

That was years ago. You can barely remember them anymore. Now you live in a nursing home in half a room, al the end of a hall, behind a curtain. You have a wheelchair that someone has to push you around in, like a baby. But when you ask to get up in it so you can sit outside to enjoy the rare temperate weather, you're told they don't have time. Worse, sometimes they say they'll do it, but they just never seem to get around to it.

Most of your friends live in a town 70 miles away. You've been away going on five years now. You've faded from their memories. It's human nature. Out of sight, out of mind. Being stuck in bed, there's no opportunity to make friends. There's one nurse who's very sweet and caring. She helps ease the loneliness. And there's one friend who visits loyally as often as he can. Without his friendship, you feel like you'd just wither away from the isolation.

You thought you'd made friends with a new aide. But you were wrong. Without explanation, he started ignoring you, acting like you don't exist. You don't understand. It hurts. A lot. You can think of a hundred possible reasons this is happening, and all of them must be your fault. But what? This has happened to you before, when someone you thought cared suddenly turned his back on you without explanation. That time it was someone you trusted implicitly. That time it hurt so much you didn't think you could live with that much pain and felt the best thing for everybody would be if you just didn't exist anymore. That was nearly 10 years ago. You still don't understand what you did wrong and it still hurts.

So right now, you're reminded so much of that terrible time that you wake up crying every day. It doesn't matter if you're friends with the aide. You'll work your way through the confusion and pain eventually. 

But you've realized something from this experience. You are no longer an active part of this world. You've passed the point where you can make new friends. You're an old woman who lives in a nursing home, subject to all of society's stereotypes, prejudices, and assumptions. You're not a person, not a part of society anymore. You're a shadow, devoid of personality or substance. When you talk, people don't hear you. When aides take care of you, you're not a person, you're just some generic body they get paid to take care of.

You're not alive to them. You're a shadow. So it's little wonder the aide you thought of as a friend is treating you like you don't exist. It's because, to him, you don't.

I love you all. How could I not? I just have never been able to hang onto anger or hate. Yes, I do get angry, but simply can't maintain it, unless it's towards myself. I'm working on that, but it's not an easy habit to break. Love yourselves with all your hearts, wonderful peeps. You have no idea how magnificent your spirits truly are. You shine.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fading Away

The gift I was given is fading fast. Instead of experiencing them, the gifts are turning into memories, accessed only through my feeble, inadequate human consciousness. I never thought it would be a forever thing but I do wish, of course, it had lasted longer. I can still see and feel how gorgeous and amazing it was and how free I felt. But I know that, before long, the memories will become like ink drawings of a brilliant autumn forest.

Already, when I look at my friend, I no longer see his spirit shining through him. I remember, kind of abstractly, that it was breathtakingly beautiful, but I couldn't in any way describe it except that it was bright and infinite and full of love. I was fortunate to see it with the clarity that I had when all this began, because I got a better understanding of what we are inside our human skins and how we all have potential that our minds don't recognize. It seems the lessons I learned are sticking with me and probably will because they are important to the growing of my soul.

As for my friend, I just see the human part of him now, but that is enough. He is a beautiful and wise person. We necessarily have boundaries on our relationship that must be respected, so being friends with him will be a bit complicated and, likely, somewhat limited, but will be exactly how it's meant to be. I love his spirit. How could I not, after seeing inside it, but I don't expect the human parts of us to feel that way. Time will tell how things will turn out.

I am changed because of that gift. I am more willing to love and to accept love. Life isn't something to be all that serious about. Well, I have to remind myself of that sometimes. And I still get furious when I see people being mistreated. I can't help that. It's a part of who I am as a human being.

Was all this my imagination? I've asked myself that. And I have to answer no. It was real. I know that, because if I had imagined it, I would still be imagining it. I would have held onto it with everything I had because it was that beautiful and joyous. I would have sacrificed every shred of my sanity to stay there.

So, no. I'm all too sane. It was a gift that the Universe gave me to lift me out of the infinitely deep well of despair I was falling into. Now I just need to sort out all the things I learned from it. I will meditate more. I will learn to slow my brain down and quiet it. That will be a challenge, since my brain is like twin spoiled toddlers who demand to be constantly entertained. And if don't give in to their tantrums, they lead me into very dark, frightening places in my mind that I avoid at all costs. So there can be an expensive price to pay if I don't get my methods right.

Something is telling me that I need to get some help with that problem, but I know who to ask, so no worries.

I'm grateful for the tolerance and understanding that my new friend showed me and continues to show.  I hope he never forgets my description of the spirit I saw in him because that was very real. Believing in that will be helpful, I'm certain, in his life adventures and in the advancing of his soul. And that, alone, would make me feel like this life is worthwhile, especially my life since I became a paraplegic.

Yes, yes. I realize my life has been worthwhile at least once in awhile, but this would be the first time I felt something other than helpless and burdensome since my legs forgot how to walk.

Thank you, Universe, for the incredible and generous gift. Thank you, angels, for answering my prayers for help. Thank you, new/old friend for letting me see you as spirit. And thank you to all my friends and family for loving me anyway, even though you think I've slipped a few gears.

Peace, love and joy to all of you, for always.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Gift

I have a new friend. Actually, he's an old friend, too. I recently wrote about recognizing him. I hadn't seen him in ages so it took me a long time to recognize him. It wasn't his face I finally recognized. That's changed a lot. It's a nice face with blazingly blue eyes that's easy to look at, but it's not the same.

It was his spirit. When I was jolted into the ability to see that, I was shocked. I've spent most of my life, since I was around 5, closed up to protect myself from letting others inflict pain on my childish, vulnerable heart. It worked. Mostly. But that also blocked me from opening my heart to giving and receiving unconditional love from bright spirits around me. I didn't even know they existed. I was independent, strong, and safe. I was also a fairy child, living alone in a world of fantasy, where I could exist without fear of being touched, emotionally.

I did have a crusader heart, as well. I made it my mission to defend those whom I saw being picked on for the sake of being mean to them. I befriended them so they wouldn't be alone. I built them up and made them laugh. I encouraged them to like themselves. I got them to the point where they had enough self-confidence that they didn't need me anymore. And then I let them fly. But I never did that for myself, and I was so folded in on myself that nobody could see how much I needed what I so freely gave to others. It was nobody's fault. I was an extremely self-contained human. My own family didn't even see it, and they loved me dearly.

I'm still a crusader. But now they call me a liberal. Heh.

So here I am, over six decades old, just learning how to open myself up so I can fly, too. That's why I was so shocked when I recognized the shining spirit of this person walk past, as familiar to my heart as the sun is to my eyes. I didn't know what to do or what to think. I thought, Oh.My.Goodness! What did I just see? What WAS that? I know him! I could see his oh-so familiar spirit shining out of his body like the comfortable beacon of the porchlight at my childhood home. 

First, I was so astonished I forgot to breathe. Then I thought, oh geez. This guy is practically a stranger to me, and an 18-year-old fresh out out of high school to boot! Have I finally snapped?

But, at the same time, I was jubilant. I KNEW AND RECOGNIZED an old friend! I had been working on breaking down all my emotional walls for nearly a year and had only recently thought of a way to open my heart -- and that was only because I was so desperately emotionally exhausted that I had to find some peace and calmness within myself. I was so far from flying, I was close to sinking under the muck at the bottom of that old familiar hole I kept having to claw my way out of.

I'm sure he doesn't see all this the way I do. I probably startled the hell out of him when I told him, but he was cool about it. He has some wisdom in him that I'd like to learn. Could be he has a much older soul than I do. My spirit has already opened up to so much wisdom since this happened that my mind can't sort it all out. I've been like a baby that's just figured out how to walk and am charging and lurching wildly around in my unfettered enthusiasm for this newfound freedom.

And that also may have been startling the hell out of him. Not to worry. I will settle down and calm myself. I just feel like I did as a child at the beach. There's so much newness to take in. I'm overwhelmed by it all. And the feelings! I've never been this open to feeling unconditional love before, or this much joy. It's better than... I don't know. I can't come up with anything in my life experience that even comes close.

I've learned how to fly.

A good friend told me that my new/old friend's presence at this stage of my life experience is the Universe's gift to me. While I was in so much emotional pain that it was almost unbearable, I prayed to my angels, pled with them, begged them for help and, if not help, then to let me go back Home where I could rest. I was sure my despair would block them from hearing. Then they sent me a gift in an unlikely package as an answer. And they let me have the way to see him. Thank you, sweet angels. I hope to also be a gift to him in some small way before life moves us apart again.

Thank you, too, bright spirit. I assure you, you are under no pressure. Just being you is perfect. Your spirit heart knows exactly what to do and be. It is wide open so that you touch everyone you come into contact with. You probably don't even realize it. It's simply who you are. But I have been given the privilege of seeing that bright light of yours.

I hope that all of you can feel and see what I've been gifted, and more, during your life experiences. Because it truly is an incredible gift to have. ❤️

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Barefoot Child

I hated wearing shoes when I was young, even all the way up into my twenties. Of course, I was required to wear shoes to school. During the summer months, shoes were a necessity unless I stayed in the grass, which was always cool to my sidewalk-seared feet. 

Sometimes, now, I lay back in my bed and think about how it felt, especially how cool the grass was and how the blades tickled when I walked. We had a pretty thick lawn, so my feet would sink down into it and the grass would curve up the sides of my feet and tickle me there, too, at least until the lawn was mowed. The soles of my feet were so calloused and thick by the time I was in my teens I could walk on broken glass and not get cut. Not that it's something to be proud of. But, you know, I grew up in the south, where 40 degrees farenheit was considered heavy coat weather. I rarely ever wore a coat, either.

But now it seems the memories are fading a bit each time I try to remember how it felt. Of course, I was a child. I didn't take the time to pay close attention to things like that. I was too busy exploring and learning and enjoying life. Which was as it should be. But if I had ever had a clue that one day, out of the blue, I would lose the ability to feel anything at all on my legs and feet, maybe I'd have played in the grass more as an adult.

Too late now. But I have an excellent back-up memory. Several, in fact, of playing on the beach. We lived fairly close to the Gulf of Mexico. Our favorite stretch of beach was completely deserted. Our family would go out in the morning on a weekend and I could tell when we were getting close to the shore because the sky would gradually turn a gorgeous shade of blue. There were mounds of sand beside the road that ran along the shore so we couldn't see the water until my dad crossed a break in the sand dunes and we spun our tires through the loose sand onto the firmer sand of the beach. He'd park and my sister and I lept out of the car almost before it stopped moviing. There were no seatbelts to hold us back in those days. I remember running as fast as I could to the shallow waves. Then, just as the edge of a wave barely touched my toes, I'd run just as quickly away from it, giggling with total delight.

While I played this game of chase, my dad wandered up and down the beach, gathering driftwood so we could cook our dinner over a fire later. At least, I assume he did. I was too engaged in my fun to notice. But a pile of driftwood would magically appear, as would the fire later on. When you're a child you don't question that kind of magic.

After I tired of chasing and being chased by the waves, i'd wade in the water, then stand still as the waves washed across my feet. I watched with fascination as, with each wave that washed in and out, my feet would gradually be covered by sand. After they disappeared up to my ankles, I'd get a frisson of panic and quickly pull them out with a "spawp!" sound.

Mom probably yelled herself hoarse, constantly hollering for us to come back. The thing is, distance is deceptive when you walk along the edge of the waves of a large body of water. Before you know it, you're a lot farther away than you think from where you started. So I'm sure Mom kept an eagle eye on her two girls to make sure we didn't stray too far. Of course, I didn't know why she kept yelling. I didn't even wonder. I was a little girl and all my senses were overflowing with the warmth of the sun and how squishy the sand felt between my toes and how blue-green the water was against the whitecaps and how far the water went and what the sandpipers looked like when they ran across the sand, and how special the air smelled, so different from the air at home. And if Mommy called, I cheerfully came because she was there and Daddy was there and that made this wonderful place I was experiencing safe.

As the day turned into late afternoon, the driftwood magically became a fire. Mom had pulled out the cast-iron skillet she'd brought. Fairies peeled and sliced potatoes and onions into the skillet and added some oil, then Mom cooked the veggies over the fire. I'm pretty sure the fairies fed the peelings to seagulls. I'm not sure, because by this time I was completely focused on the food. 

By the time we'd skewered our hot dogs on to straightened-out wire clotheshangers (which were painted black and probably poisoned us somehow) and ate our half-burned hotdogs, followed by charcoaled marshmallows which were cooked on the same coathangers so that they tasted like gooey melted sweetness which surrounded bits of crunchy charcoaled hot dog, the sun had set.

We sat by the fire, and I know I must have been half, if not fully, asleep. I have the vaguest of memories, like disconnected polka dots in my mind, of Mom and Dad cleaning up, but nothing of getting into the car. The next thing I knew, I was in bed, it was the next morning, I was sunburned, and everything in my life was perfect.

So now, I have saved these memories from the vagaries of my aging brain and I can visit them whenever my memory starts to slide away from me. And I can always remember when life was perfect. Thank you for indulging me.

Many wishes for all of you to always be able to revisit these kinds of days.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Smarter Than a Roomba

I let my brain take some time out. Instead of letting it go faster and faster until it can't stand up straight and starts wandering in a frenzy, bouncing off thoughts like a super-ball that my cats used to chase randomly around, I made it stop. Instead, I listened to guided meditation, or concentrated on hours of relaxing music, which usually made me drift off to sleep. So I also slept a lot. Sometimes, I would let my mind wander to happy memories, but not if I started feeling sad. I forced my thoughts toward other things if that happened.

This was a struggle, not letting myself struggle, and I'm not finished yet. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm never going to be finished. I want to be calm-minded and at peace, because when I manage to allow that, amazing things happen.

For example, there is a CNA working here who is a shining light. He's almost 19 and has a long journey yet to make through his life. But he is clearly a healer. He's worked here awhile, and is now only working 3 days a week so he can attend college. So I don't see him that much. I was relaxing this afternoon, keeping my mind as clear as possible, when I saw him walk into the bathroom to help someone. There was nothing remarkable about it. He didn't even glance my way.

But I heard a voice in my head shout, "I KNOW him!" It wasn't as if I don't know him. That's silly. He's been helping take care of me for months. It was more like I've known him for decades, or millenia, long since before he was born. Heck, even since before I was born! Sounds kind of crazy, but I haven't lost my wits -- yet. I told my nurse and she looked skeptical, so I told her, "it's not as if I called him by a different name and claimed he was my husband in a former life. I just recognized him." She was still skeptical. I guess she's heard stranger things from people who really have lost their wits.

I took a chance and told this CNA about it. He was either a great actor or was receptive to the idea. I told him that some believe we have soul groups, or tribes, and that members of our tribes will sometimes show up in each others' incarnations to help, or learn from each other or to teach one another. I think he might be a member of my tribe. We talked a little about what god might be but I also told him that we're not going to know for certain until we leave this life. I didn't tell him, though, that I can picture the long path of his life or that it gleams like gold. Like I said, he's a healer and his light will shine strongly. It already does and he's just beginning.

Stuff like this only happens to me after I've cleared my mind and heart. When I look back on it, after I'm back to "normal" I'm amazed by it.

My point really is that I have not been smarter than a Roomba. Watch one. Or watch a video of a Roomba wandering around a room with a cat sitting calmly on top of it, enjoying the ride. The Roomba never bumps repeatedly into something, time after time after time. If it did, the cat would be disturbed and would find another place to sit. Instead, the Roomba twirls around and goes a different direction.

I haven't been as smart as the Roomba OR the cat. I've pounded my head against various brick walls over and over and over until I get mad at myself because I don't make any progress. Then I get depressed/overwhelmed/exhausted or all three at once. Then FINALLY I give myself a break and allow myself to seek peace and calmness.

Now I get it. This is what I should do first, not as a last resort. I roll my eyes and shake my head at the denseness of my human self. I also embrace the lovability of my stubborn self. We are one, she and I, but we see things so much differently at times.

Peace, calm, love and acceptance to all of you. Also, I wish you the ability to find humor in your faults.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Of This World

There's an old country song that mentions looking for love in all the wrong places. I never thought about it much. I thought it had something to do with honky-tonks and fast-living women. And that was probably its main message. But I wasn't much of a wild child back then. I had some adventures, but by that point in my life I was going to college full time, working, and raising a toddler by myself. I didn't have the energy to be wild.

But, of course, like everyone else, I really was looking for love. And during my lifetime I was lucky enough to find it. My concept of love, anyway. Now, I'm wondering if, like the song, I was looking in the wrong places. I was looking for love outside myself.

There's no way I can explain what I mean without sounding egotistical. I don't mean I think I'm the be-all of love. It's like there's this invisible, untouchable, inexplicable never-ending waterfall of something inside my soul that isn't just love. It's so much more than that, like a spark compared to a roaring fire. I know it's there. Once in a great while I manage to touch it, just a drop of it, and my entire being, my head, my body, my consciousness, my spirit, my soul is flooded with this feeling that is love and not-love. It's not of this world and yet it encompasses this world along with everything here and not-here.

And I know, not with my brain, but with my soul, that every one of us has this inside us.

In those nano-seconds that I manage to tap into it, it's like a brilliant light shines out of me that reaches into every nook and cranny in existence.

I'm such a novice. I hope I will learn how to experience this for longer periods of time. I'm selfish. I want more. I fly outside myself when I do this. I have no limits. Every place, every moment, every dimension, every thought, every bit of knowledge and understanding, every connection to every person and entity everywhere is available to me, and vice-versa.

And whatever gladness that I contain or have ever contained is spread across the universe and all its dimensions in a flash.

It's a lot like being a child again, twirling in circles just for fun and laughing, giggling, chortling for no reason at all.

But I am of this world, and that is not, so the twirling comes to a stop and I'm back in my bed, unable to walk, alone again.

Oh, but wasn't it glorious while it lasted? I must do that again, soon. And, somehow, I know in my heart, that I will.

Next time, come with me, won't you? ❤️

Sunday, September 7, 2014

I Woke Up Crying Today

My nurse, who is a true sweetheart, came in and asked me why I was crying. I had to tell her I didn't know why. It wasn't the dream I'd been having. That was a full-fledged romantic thriller starring Audry Hepburn and Cary Grant. Something created wholly from my subconscious. Very exciting, too.

But, thinking back a few years, for a long time after my husband left me I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, sobbing. Then, later, the same thing would happen after my little girl died of cancer. So it must have something to do with grief. But, for the life of me, I can't pinpoint what I'm grieving for. For nothing? For everything? For my independence? For the inevitable changes that are sure to occur now that my best friend has revealed how irritating she finds me? For the loss of how comfortable I used to feel with her? For the realization that my life will never change for the better? For my loneliness?

What's the point of going on with a list. It's everything and nothing. By some miracle, when suicide went from a possibility to disappear from my thoughts altogether, even became a distasteful idea, it stayed gone. So that's not a way out of my misery. All I can really do is wait and endure. Maybe things will get better. Maybe they won't. 

Right now,  nothing I do, watch, hear, read, think, see, or remember gives me comfort.  Will this last a day, a week, a month, forever? I don't know. All I know is right now. Right now, I exist in sadness. Seize the moment. Ha.

Life isn't easy and I've been through some tough times, as has everyone. But never before have I come to a total standstill, mired in unhappiness without a way to struggle out of it. I seem to be my own worst enemy now. All this thinking and reasoning gets me nowhere. What is, is.

I managed to sleep nearly 12 hours last night. Maybe that's what I need -- to block out my conscious mind as much as possible and let my subconscious mind take over for awhile. Last night it provided me with some pretty good entertainment, after all.

We'll see.

Peace and comfort to you all. ❤️